With National Sleep Awareness Week announced recently (#SleepBetterFeelBetter), we think it’s time for some #realtalk. Sleep.
Because sadly as a group, nurses are getting a lot less sleep than anyone else. Especially for those of us who prefer to work those 12-hour shifts. What’s an extra four hours, right? It turns out, quite a lot. Longer hours lead to more stress and higher dissatisfaction. Not to mention overtime. It all inches us towards the dreaded nurse burnout.
But we’ve got your back. Here are seven ways you can get better sleep:
1. Have a sleep ritual.
Ooh, ritual. It isn’t as mysterious as it sounds though. What this means is for you to do the exact same actions right before you go to sleep. Arianna Huffington, author of The Sleep Revolution, ‘escorts’ her phone out of her room, take a hot bath (with salts! #fancy) and drinks tea before sleep.
It could be as simple as brushing your teeth then hopping in bed with a book. Just commit!
2. Set a time to sleep.
If you ever go to one of those 12-hour shifts with anything less than 7-9 hours of sleep, you’re doing you and your patients a disservice. If you haven’t already, take time to plan for your sleep time once you get your work schedule. Just work backwards.
3. Break out the pajamas
As exhausted as you are, per Huffington, you shouldn’t just fall asleep in any clothes, like an old shirt and pants. Everything is psychological. Get actual pajamas, or designated sleep clothes, and wear them. It’ll conditioning your brain to let it know that yes, it’s actually sleep time.
4. Have a comfortable sleeping environment.
Make sure there’s as little light and sound as possible in the room when you’re sleeping. Weirdly enough, it’s also best if the air is just slightly cooler than what you’re used to.
5. Limit the screen time.
Of course, we should all be doing yoga or something once we get home to #relax, but realistically most of us would prefer to just spend our time in front of a computer or TV before bed.
And once we’re in bed, there’s always those darn notifications on Facebook we simply must check!
Don’t do this to yourself. The light from your screens messes with your biorhythm. Put the phone away!
6. Avoid the alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine.
Resist the temptation to use substances at night. Alcohol doesn’t give you restful sleep. Sure it can put you to sleep, but it’s actually quite disruptive once it’s been digested, and worse, it can give you nightmares!
Nicotine and caffeine has never been proven to help people sleep well. But as a nurse, you knew that J.
7. Put your worries away at night.
There’s no denying that #nurselife can be a stressful one. Patient care is physically and mentally exhausting. But if you ever become too stressed to sleep, try this: envision you opening a vault in your mind and putting your worries away. Lock them up for the night. You will deal with them tomorrow.
Sounds kooky, but it works for me.
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